By Doug Rapp
Kobe Stanton has a long commute, but for her, it’s worth it.
“I love what I do,” Stanton said of her job as a security resource officer at GEMS World Academy on East South Water St. “I can say I wake up and look forward to seeing these kids.”
Stanton heads into New Eastside from suburban Markham to keep the students safe at GEMS, a preschool-through-12 school that emphasizes a global STEM curriculum and multilingual learning.
Working security is nothing new to Stanton, 31. After attending Olive Harvey College, she was a guard at Chicago Housing Authority’s central office and the Art Institute before she started at GEMS. She’s been with the school since they opened in 2014.
“I’ve seen a lot of kids grow up,” she said. “I’ve had five years of interacting with the families and getting to know them personally.”
Stanton said she loves the international diversity of the 400-plus student body.
“I like the environment of happiness and positivity,” she said.
Stanton, a Country Club Hills native who grew up with nine siblings, said her duties include monitoring student pick-up and drop-off, recess, helping with the front desk and phones while “being an extra eye for teachers” when needed.
“My favorite times are when I get to interact with the families,” she said.
Stanton said GEMS’ security is tight but “not a lot of crazy things are going on.” She said she and the security staff of four can assist in minor medical incidents or accidents, run fire and lockdown drills, provide security camera footage if needed and patrol the 322,000-square-foot campus.
It’s not all work, though. Stanton said one of her favorite events is the annual fundraising gala. She said it’s fun to raise a toast with the families in formal wear instead of her usual security uniform.
Looking back on her five years at GEMS, Stanton said she appreciates her rewarding work.
“I am actually thankful for everybody that walks into this building because everyone that walks in here has a positive attitude,” Stanton said. “There are a lot of people who have bigger problems than what you think you have.”